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Gender, Agricultural Commercialization, and Collective Action in Kenya


  • Fischer, Elisabeth
  • Qaim, Matin


With the commercialization of agriculture, women are increasingly disadvantaged because of persistent gender-disparities in access to productive resources. Farmer collective action that intends to improve smallholder access to markets and technology could potentially accelerate this trend. Here, we use survey data of small-scale banana producers in Kenya to investigate the gender implications of recently established farmer groups. Traditionally, banana has been a women’s crop in Kenya. Our results confirm that the groups contribute to increasing male control over banana. While male control over banana revenues does not affect household food security, it has a negative marginal effect on dietary quality. We demonstrate that the negative gender implications of farmer groups can be reduced or avoided when women are group members themselves. In the poorest income segments, group membership even seems to have a positive effect on female-controlled income share. Some policy implications towards gender mainstreaming of farmer collective action are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Fischer, Elisabeth & Qaim, Matin, 2012. "Gender, Agricultural Commercialization, and Collective Action in Kenya," Discussion Papers 121229, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:gagfdp:121229

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Chege, Christine G. K. & Andersson, Camilla I.M. & Qaim, Matin, 2014. "Impacts of supermarkets on farm household nutrition in Kenya," Discussion Papers 167910, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
    2. Rao, Elizaphan J.O. & Qaim, Matin, 2013. "Supermarkets and agricultural labor demand in Kenya: A gendered perspective," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 165-176.
    3. Chege, Christine G.K. & Andersson, Camilla I.M. & Qaim, Matin, 2015. "Impacts of Supermarkets on Farm Household Nutrition in Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 394-407.
    4. Muriithi, Beatrice W. & Matz, Julia Anna, 2015. "Welfare effects of vegetable commercialization: Evidence from smallholder producers in Kenya," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 80-91.
    5. Dave Nyongesa & Martin Kiogora Mwirigi & David Yongo & Stella Makokha, 2016. "Gender-concerns: do they matter in smallholder dairy groups in Kenya?," International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 12(1), pages 1-17.
    6. Schreinemachers, Pepijn & Wu, Mei-huey & Uddin, Md. Nasir & Ahmad, Shahabuddin & Hanson, Peter, 2016. "Farmer training in off-season vegetables: Effects on income and pesticide use in Bangladesh," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 132-140.
    7. Meier zu Selhausen, Felix, 2016. "Women's empowerment in Uganda: colonial roots and contemporary efforts, 1894-2012," Economics PhD Theses 0715, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
    8. repec:spr:ssefpa:v:9:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s12571-017-0718-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Kabunga, Nassul S. & Dubois, Thomas & Qaim, Matin, 2014. "Impact of tissue culture banana technology on farm household income and food security in Kenya," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 25-34.
    10. Muricho, Geoffrey & Kassie, Menale & Obare, Gideon, 2015. "Determinants of Market Participation Regimes among Smallholder Maize Producers in Kenya," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212515, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    11. Latynskiy, Evgeny & Berger, Thomas, 2016. "Networks of Rural Producer Organizations in Uganda: What Can be Done to Make Them Work Better?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 572-586.
    12. Chege, Christine G.K. & Andersson, Camilla I.M. & Qaim, Matin, 2014. "Impacts Of Supermarkets On Farm Household Nutrition In Kenya," 2014 International Congress, August 26-29, 2014, Ljubljana, Slovenia 182724, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    13. Qaim, Matin, 2014. "Evaluating nutrition and health impacts of agricultural innovations," Discussion Papers 185785, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
    14. Sibhatu, Kibrom T. & Krishna, Vijesh V. & Qaim, Matin, 2015. "Farm Production Diversity and Dietary Diversity in Developing Countries," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205286, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    15. Christina Handschuch & Meike Wollni, 2013. "Traditional food crop marketing in Sub-Saharan Africa: Does gender matter?," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 142, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    16. Verhofstadt, Ellen & Maertens, Miet, 2013. "Cooperative membership and agricultural performance: Evidence from Rwanda," Working Papers 157389, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centre for Agricultural and Food Economics.
    17. VAN DEN BROECK, Goedele & MAERTENS, Miet, 2016. "Horticultural exports and food security in developing countries," Working Papers 232595, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centre for Agricultural and Food Economics.
    18. Chiputwa, Brian & Qaim, Matin, 2014. "Sustainability standards, gender, and nutrition among smallholder farmers in Uganda," Discussion Papers 191001, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
    19. Joseph Kangile, Rajabu, 2015. "Efficiency in Production By Smallholder Rice Farmers Under Cooperative Irrigation Schemes in Pwani and Morogoro Regions, Tanzania," Research Theses 243447, Collaborative Masters Program in Agricultural and Applied Economics.

    More about this item


    gender; collective action; market access; agricultural technology; household food security and nutrition; Kenya; Community/Rural/Urban Development; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Food Security and Poverty; Institutional and Behavioral Economics; International Development; Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies; D71; J16; O12; O13; O31; Q13;

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • Q13 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Markets and Marketing; Cooperatives; Agribusiness

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